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Google goes behavioural

March 12, 2009

Google this week begins showing ads to people based on their previous online activities To try and forestall objections to its approach, Google said it planned to offer new ways for users to protect their privacy. Most notably, Google will be the first major company to give users the ability to see and edit the information that it has compiled about their interests for the purposes of behavioral targeting. Like rivals such as Yahoo, it also will give users the choice to opt out from what it calls "interest-based advertising."

Google's foray into behavioural targeting may represent the most visible result so far of the company's integration of DoubleClick, an advertising technology company that it acquired a year ago.

Google will use a cookie to track users as they visit one of the hundreds of thousands of sites that show ads through its AdSense program. Google will assign those users to categories based on the content of the pages they visit. Google will then use that information to show people ads that are relevant to their interests. The programme will first be tested with a few dozen advertisers.

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